By Melisa Ceman/reporter
Paving the way for others is the legacy that Reby Cary said he most wanted to leave as people gathered to celebrate his 97th birthday Sept. 9 on South Campus.
Cary, a former Texas state representative, historian, author, veteran and one of the first professors who taught at Tarrant County College, represented himself and the achievements he’s accomplished throughout the years.
“He is always getting involved in the community, and everyone knows who he is,” said State Rep. Nicole Collier. “He is a legacy.”
Cary started his career teaching African-American history at Fort Worth’s Dunbar High School, which then led him to teach on South Campus when it first opened in 1967.
In 1969, Cary decided to teach at the University of Texas at Arlington whose nickname at the time was the Rebels and whose students would wave the Confederate flag during games. During this time, Cary was only teaching American history. However, the students wanted him to teach black history, and so he did.
After teaching for four years, Cary was persuaded into running for office. He became the third state representative for District 95. He helped influence black men and women to know their own history and culture. He paved the way for the African-American people by showing them the importance of being independent through his books and through his teachings.
Aside from teaching, Cary is especially proud of the 33 books he has written in his lifetime because he said he was “paving the way for not only African-Americans but everyone who wanted change and to be a leader.”
One book Cary wrote in 2006 is called Pavers of the Way.
“I keep myself going even if the odds are against me because I want people to follow me and be leaders,” Cary said.
Even turning 97, Cary is still writing books. He wrote his most recent book last year called The Apex, followed by an addendum which Cary autographed at the event and gave to each TCC student attendee.
Many people gathered to show their gratitude toward Cary on his 97th birthday, including TCC board member Gwendolyn Morrison, who hosted the event.
A birthday cake was served, and everyone sang “Happy Birthday to You” to Cary, who was still paving the way for others.